Rendering of Spanish artist Casto Solano’s “On the Living River” sculpture, to be installed outside Fraser Heights Recreation Centre in Surrey. (Photo: City of Surrey)

Rendering of Spanish artist Casto Solano’s “On the Living River” sculpture, to be installed outside Fraser Heights Recreation Centre in Surrey. (Photo: City of Surrey)

New ‘landmark’ sculpture at Surrey rec centre to be crafted by Spanish artist

Budget is $112K for steel work, at Fraser Heights rec centre by next summer

SURREY — The Fraser Heights area will be home to a new “landmark” artwork created by a Spanish sculptor.

City council has approved a bid by artist Casto Solano to create something he calls “On the Living River” for installation outside Fraser Heights Recreation Centre by the summer of 2018.

“Given the visibility potential, an artwork located here will serve as a landmark for the Fraser Heights neighbourhood, greeting those travelling by car from the Trans-Canada Highway as well as from neighbouring Surrey areas,” says a report presented to the council on Nov. 6.

Funding for Surrey’s latest public art project is $112,000, an amount that “draws from both civic monies from the expansion of Fraser Heights Recreation Centre as well as contributions to the private development public art fund for Guildford,” according to the report from Laurie Cavan, Surrey’s GM of Parks, Recreation & Culture.

The middle of a traffic circle was originally targeted as a place for public art in Fraser Heights, but the community wanted a different location for it, and a grassy area near the rec centre entrance was chosen instead.

• READ MORE: Surrey nixes plans for $90K traffic circle art, from January 2017.

Councillor Judy Villeneuve, who chairs the city’s Public Art Advisory Committee, called the sculpture a “wonderful steel piece.… I think it’s going to be a fantastic addition to Fraser Heights,” she told the council.

In her report, Cavan says Casto “was mainly inspired by the Fraser River and the golden ratio, a mathematical ratio commonly found in nature that is also universally experienced as aesthetically pleasing.”

In August, a five-person panel chose Solano’s art piece over those submitted by four other artists – Ruth Beer, Illarion Gallant, Hooman Mehdizadehjafari and Michael Szabo.

Members of the selection panel were Bill Pechet (art expert and UBC prof), Andy Kuo (art teacher at Pacific Academy), Norma Nickel (art teacher at Fraser Heights Secondary), Paul Orazietti (executive director of Cloverdale BIA and a Fraser Heights resident) and Mitchell Redekop (realtor and Fraser Heights resident).

Solano, who has been creating art for public spaces for more than 30 years, specializes “in durable artworks that are designed to last for generations,” according to Cavan’s report.

“He perceives the Fraser River like the tail of a meteor, brimming with life, coming down and plunging deep into the earth,” the report states. “The artist envisions creating a sculpture that is a ribbon of stainless steel symbolizing in its shining mirror surface, crystalline waters that reflects the life forms and colours around it; that senses and collects our thoughts and faces; that changes with the hour and weather to form a living part of its environment.

“Casto describes the sculpture as a path between the earth and the stars that tells people the story of Surrey and of its citizens.”

As for the $112,000 project budget, $90,000 is assigned to the artist contract for this project, Cavan’s report notes, “inclusive of all costs and taxes excluding costs for foundation, signage, and lighting. The total budget includes funding for these other costs.”

• READ MORE: FOCUS: Surrey gets serious about public art, from October 2016.